Acting on Today’s Leading Industry Challenges

Our work focuses on some of the most important opportunities and risks facing our industry globally and is designed to support businesses in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By taking advantage of our uniqueness, we only work on things that need CEO-level guidance. For our work to be successful, change must come from the top down, and it is from here that our work is able to drive positive change globally. 

Below are the umbrella pillars of our work, whereby our members work together, pre-competitively, to find solutions, implement actions and deliver positive change and shared business value.

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Environmental Sustainability

With deforestation, refrigeration and waste being significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as negatively impacting the health of people and the planet, the need for our industry to address these and other sustainability challenges remains clear. The private sector is well-placed to show leadership and CGF members understand the role they need to play and are committed to taking action on the most pressing environmental challenges facing our industry.

The mission of our environmental sustainability work is to position the consumer goods industry as a leader in tackling climate change, reducing waste and improving environmental stewardship in global supply chains. Our work seeks to align the industry on how to move forward together in a way that shows how responsible business actions make for good business. 

Of course, we cannot solve climate change by ourselves. We are also engaging and working with governments, NGOs and other key stakeholders to drive progress towards broader international goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and seek to create partnerships that drive positive change. However, we must lead by example and show exactly how the consumer goods industry is delivering on its promise, improving lives and securing the future of the planet. One example of this would be our recent announcements at COP26, whereby we confirmed our status as an official UN Race to Zero Accelerator and our commitment to drive actions to transform production lanscapes to “forest positive” by 2030 .

Social Sustainability

Forced labour is an endemic social problem riddled throughout supply chains globally. 25 million individuals are victims of forced labour today. It is one of the most profitable global crimes and a problem of this magnitude cannot be solved by one person, company or industry acting alone.

This is an unacceptable situation that the consumer goods industry firmly intends to fight, both through its ground-breaking 2016 Board-approved Resolution on Forced Labour and through the continued support of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda, including work towards SDG 8.

Our mission is to provide and promote an international reference and common understanding of best practices for sustainable supply chain management while driving social sustainability improvements throughout the value chain of the consumer goods industry, ultimately improving the lives of workers. 

We also recognise the importance of working closely with other industries, with governments and with civil society, as well as bridging work across the CGF’s Coalitions, like those on Human Rights/Forced Labour, Forest Positive and SSCI. We know that progress will require meaningful advances in the enforcement of relevant national laws, international frameworks and increased support for and protection of victims and vulnerable populations.

Health & Wellness

Our industry is facing a clear call to action. People want to live healthier lives and expect our industry to play a role in helping them meet their health and wellbeing needs.

Our health and wellness work is centered on the belief that the private sector has an important role to play in empowering consumers to live healthier lives and to being part of the solution to today’s leading health and wellbeing challenges, as well as supporting relevant UN SDGs on health and nutrition; more specifically, we are playing our part to end hunger, promote good health and wellbeing and build effective partnerships.

There is a clear opportunity for business to really make a contribution to public health and a culture of prevention, and members of the CGF acknowledge this as part of a shared responsibility. Today, led by manufacturers, retailers, public health authorities and local communities, we are a global movement acting at the origins of healthier decisions. We experiment, innovate and evolve business models, sharing data at-scale and collaborating to test new approaches and share best practices so that healthier decisions become easy and habitual for people in every community around the world. 

End-to-End Value Chain

In recent years, societal trends and digital media have fueled demand for greater transparency. Consumers want accurate, on-demand answers to the questions they have on the products they buy and where they come from, and also want to have confidence that the personal data they provide to companies will be reliably safeguarded and responsibly used. 

E2E deals with all things that ‘move’ in a supply chain, be it a consumer item, a truck transporting pallets or data channelled to a consumer’s device. We envision an industry in which trading partners have access to real-time, accurate and independently assured product and supply chain data down to item level. It’s our belief that companies need to find new ways to collect and share data in a world where poor data handling, packaging waste and outmoded technologies lead to spiralling costs and inefficiencies that can span an entire supply chain. 

Our members understand that data is intrinsic to business success today, whether it’s knowing what ingredients are in a product, how many cartons are in a delivery truck or whether a consumer understands what you are doing with the personal data you are collecting. With an emphasis on overcoming the biggest challenges facing our industry along the value chain, our E2E projects have the power to shape our industry for years to come and are supported by a series of special SpringBoard events to share informaton and insights.

Food Safety

Over the past several decades, the world has seen numerous food safety crises in the headlines, eroding consumers’ trust in the safety of the food they buy, the brands they love and even the food industry at large. Our work to help address this global issue began in 2000, with the creation of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). 

The GFSI aims to build consumers’ trust in the food they buy – no matter where their food has come from, nor where in the world they live – by improving food safety management practices. And, to achieve GFSI’s vision of safe food for consumers everywhere, we focus on three key objectives: benchmarking and harmonisation, capacity building and public-private partnerships. 

The GFSI community has grown into a vast, global multi-stakeholder movement, composed of the world’s leading food safety experts from retail, manufacturing and food service companies, including upstream suppliers as well as international organisations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry.

Our food safety work has become the platform where the global food community comes together to share knowledge and collaborate. They do so with an understanding that food safety is not a competitive issue and that no one company or country can do it alone.